back to article Apple bars radiation nanny from App Store

Apple's App Store police are barring yet another app, but this time the developers are taking their cause to the public. "It doesn't use Flash, and it's not porn, so why the ban?" asks Scott Piro, a spokesman for Tawkon, the Israeli developer of the eponymous app. Well, possibly the best answer to that question is: "Because …

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  1. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Holy...

    Excuse me, I need to code a few apps as soon as possible...

    ...cosmic rays... hartmann network... dowsing... hmmm... natural waves...

    There. Four apps for these people who are born every minute!

  2. Gilleain Torrance
    Happy

    Love the youtube comments as well

    Such as the top rated one :

    "Apple should continue to show its leadership by adopting this must have technology which will soon become de-facto on additional platforms (already on Blackberry) - people need the right to chooose and apple as an innovator and provider of cutting edge user experiences should drive this kind of beneficial App and take a proactive stance..."

    Hmmm. Strange how this genuine member of the public is so familiar with marketing speak. A coincidence, I'm sure...

    1. peter 45
      Happy

      Dibs on Moonbeams

      I'm writing an app that gathers moonbeams when you point the phone at the moon and then slowly releases those moonbeams to counter the effect of the cancer producing radiation.

      Just point out the obvious, you only gather moonbeams whilst the moon is waxing. Gathering moonbeams whilst the moon is waining is just silly.

      1. GreenOgre
        Jobs Halo

        When to gather moonbeams?

        > "you only gather moonbeams whilst the moon is waxing. Gathering moonbeams whilst the moon is waining is just silly"

        When to gather moonbeams? I'm sure there's an app for that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      I love that you already got negged..

      You clearly upset a crystal-waver on their way to have their Energies realigned, before their appointment with their homeopath..

  3. Oz
    WTF?

    Crock

    Sounds like an utter crock of s**t to me. Why doesn't the app sample the, albeit dodgy, reported antenna output as well rather than just rely on the direction the phone is held in....

  4. Oregon Guy
    Flame

    $10 FUD app for the short-sighted

    Tawkon is getting a lot of press attention. Would an unknown company peddling junk science deliberately break Apple's API guidelines to ensure App Store rejection and the golden opportunity to make a public fuss? Their ridiculous video seems like a confession that they planned this all along.

    The default comment on Tawkon's petition is "I want the ability to avoid radiation." There's something I don't understand... if mobile phone radiation really is a health threat, how can consulting an animated app *at the time of exposure* be preferable to consistently using a wired headset? Perhaps a stray Tawkon partisan can enlighten me.

    I find it somewhat gratifying that when Apple eventually approves this thing, it will end up in the Entertainment section with various gag apps like Ghost Radar and the "lie detectors." Of course, those apps sell for $0.99 and don't try to say that a purchase is an investment in your future health.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Oregon Guy

        Manipulative & phony marketing for a manipulative & phony product

        No mobile phone hardware gathers the data needed to produce meaningful SAR measurements. At best, this app's algorithms are producing shadowy projections that aren't related to real-world conditions. It's worth noting that the app compiles statistics purporting to show how much radiation that the user has "absorbed" over a period of time, as if it were talking about ionizing radiation. How the devs can present numbers for such a thing without a helmet accessory, claim to be sincere (and also sleep at night) I don't know. IMHO, Tawkon is as honest as PT Barnum, and this app provides peace of mind in the same way as a rabbit's foot keychain.

        Apple knows just as well as RIM does that Tawkon buyers are not going to junk their phones, especially since iPhones come in with lower SAR ratings than several Blackberries. Tawkon's insinuations don't make sense at face value, but they make a lot more sense as a cynical ploy to stir up press coverage and gain positive regard for itself.

        Folks concerned about the effects of non-ionizing radiation are better served by breaking the habit of putting a phone to their heads than by relying on an app to manage that behavior for them.

    2. Rashi

      you called for a Stray Tawkon Partisan?

      I use tawkon and can tell you that while using a wired headset all the time could probably do the trick, its just not convenient to always plug in. I like being pinged when I should activate speakerphone or bluetooth and i also like seeing the little green symbol before I make a call that shows me it's a low radiation place to speak. I realize that we won't know the exact health impact of phone radiation for several years, but until then I think under $10 is well worth the peace of mind...

      1. Adam Foxton
        FAIL

        @Rashi

        How many years? We're up to... let me see now... 30 years of mobile phone usage. And about 90 of widespread artificial radio (similarly non-ionising radiation) coverage. You're under constant bombardment from signals radiated from satellite comms, from naturally occurring cosmic rays, and /enough IR, visible light and UV to burn your skin and cause cancer in a matter of hours/. Even in Winter in Scotland.

        Whereas after an hour of mobile phone usage the temperature of my ear hasn't risen more than a few degrees more than it would have if I was just holding the warm plastic-encased-battery to my head.

        And I'd just like to point out again that it's non-ionizing radiation- the damage it does is thanks to the absorbed energy (which isn't that high a percentage- or you'd only be able to get a phone signal when your phone was on the side of your head pointing at the base station) rather than actual chemical damage like alpha or beta radiation (helium nuclei and radiated electrons, if I remember my A-levels correctly).

        If we ever come up with a phone that works by radiating fast neutrons there'll be a health risk. But at the moment you're more likely to kill yourself getting a bit of cracked glass touchscreen in your blood than you are through overuse of a mobile phone. Or being shot, in Canada, by an escaped team of crack commandos, who are actually cyborg elephants in disguise trying to overthrow you and the rest of the Empire you now command.

        1. It wasnt me
          Thumb Up

          Why bother .....

          ...... trying to re-educate ?

          Cretins like this are born every minute, and are clearly born completely immune to rational argument. However, it seems the gene that prevents absorbtion of rational argument is the same one that leads to frivolously parting with money.

          Lifes great challenge is finding these poor retards, and discovering a way to make the money end up in your pocket. They cant be re-educated. And theyre _happy_ to get rid of the money, he said it himself: "10$ is not a lot for peace of mind". Hats off to the makers of this app. Its a win win.

        2. Obvious Robert
          Thumb Up

          I, for one

          welcome our new cyborg elephant overlords.

  5. Nexox Enigma

    Heh

    All of that SAR and W/kg stuff sounds familiar - from when I trained on and worked with actual (gamma ray, neutron) chemical radioactive sources.

    Measuring the effects of (ionizing, who cares about the other sort?) radiation is complex, because different types of radiation transfer different amounts of energy to different types of matter, and it's a volumetric effect, which adds a hint of geometry to the complication. Measuring the source strength is only semi-useful if 90% of the emmitted energy goes through the target/subject - W/kg is a reasonable way to compare energy absorbtion rate (W = joules/second) per density-adjusted volume (that simplifies to mass.) That way you can sort of compare alpha radiation (really shallow penetration, 100% energy transfer to target) to gamma rays (most of them go right through you.)

    Of course then you've got to correct for the fact that different types of radiation has more or less effect, given the same SAR, so you get correction factors, which for non-ionizing radiation is probably something like 0. For the real man's variety of high-energy particles, you end up with units that factor in these correction factors, like Sieverts or Milli Grays or something. It's been a while since I cared for anything other than Rads, as that's what's on the dial of your average Geiger counter (which coincidentially only measure gamma radiation - the only way to detect something like neutron radiation is by the gamma rays that are given off in neutron + atom collisions.)

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      I thought they also detected ...

      ... beta radiation?

      1. Steven Knox Silver badge
        Happy

        Beta radiation detection...

        Is still in alpha.

    2. Cameron Colley

      I thought Geiger counters detected Beta Particles?

      My recollection of A-Level physics (and a quick look at Wikipedia) tells me that they usually detect beta particles but can be modified for Gamma radiation or Alpha particles by having thicker walls or different windows.

      For gamma I thought the usual method was photographic film, covered by a specially-designed shield if Beta particles needed to be discounted?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr

    Mobile dongles can & do give people headaches you know - albeit more in low signal areas where highish power is needed. Both me and my sister can't use them for more than half an hour without starting to feel ill. There's one hell of a big difference between a slightly misfiring neuron or two and any sort of cancer whatsoever, but saying that these have absolutely no effect whatsoever is bull.

    Any commentards who see the idea that mobiles might have even the slightest even ~harmless effect on people as heresy will no doubt flame this as per usual.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wrong term

      I believe you are using the word dongle incorrectly if you are referring to, say, a Bluetooth headset. Please look up the traditional usage on a site like Wikipedia.

      You present two untestable data points for your argument. Wow.

      I might suggest other explanations. I find listening to music through headphones uncomfortable, but I don't attribute it to electromagnetic radiation. I suspect it has more to do with stuffing hard bits of material in my ears and subjecting my eardrums to sound at close range. Perhaps you and your sister, possibly related?, simply have physically sensitive ears?

    2. Darren Forster

      Quite agree with the headaches.

      I quite agree that some radio transmissions can give quite severe headaches.

      I used to do Amateur Radio and remember one night I was talking for a few hours to a friend on my hand-held radio. During this time I had it plugged into a 12v PSU to save the battery from going flat.

      Afterwards the radio was really hot due to the amount of transmitting it had been doing, and I had a really bad headache. The headache was in the area where the radio's antenna had been closest to my head. Since then I've never used my amateur radio gear in such a way.

      This could be totally different though to mobile phones as the frequency I used then in amateur radio was 1.44-1.45Mhz (2m), where as mobile phones use Ghz so either might not induce headaches but do more serious damage, or might do no damage whatsoever.

    3. Brian Morrison
      Stop

      Have you and your sister....

      ...compared your level of headache in double blind trials?

      If not then it will be down to your own anxiety rather than any actual effect.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm referring to what is commonly accepted as 'dongle' nowadays

        Namely those Mobile Broadband usb sticks you plug in.

      2. Dagg

        Sorry Darren

        2m is 144 mHz up to 148 mHz, not 1.44 mHz, that is the end of the AM radio band. I've also had a headache using with ham radio gear. This was an AREC (Amateur Radio Emergency Corp) exercise. I was using 80 m HF gear (3.5 to 3.8 mHz) the problem I had was a dehydration headache. I had basically operated for 6 hours without a drink.

    4. Pet Peeve
      FAIL

      Oh Really?

      If you can prove that, James Randi has a million dollars for you. Electrosensitivity is pseudoscience.

    5. Geoff Mackenzie

      I have a headache

      just reading this stuff. Must be the visible light radiation from my LCD backlight.

      1. Chad H.
        Joke

        @ Geoff

        No, the illuminati have implanted a Radiation generating device in your screen.... Quick, push it out a window....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    While we're at it ...

    No'one's ever really PROVED cigarettes cause lung cancer, have they? Eh? Eh? Eh?

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      FAIL

      Funnily enough...

      you are correct. They haven't. And not for want of trying.

      There appeared to be a strong statistical co-relation between smoking and lung cancer in the early tests, but that's not quite the same thing.

      I wonder if the same co-relation would be found today with a dispassionate scientific test, but I'm quite sure that no-one would get any funding to do such a test, and that publishing any findings short of a complete confirmation of the 1950s findings would result in the end of any medical career the researchers might have had....

    2. bluesxman
      Go

      Re: While we're at it ...

      Has anyone proved that it doesn't?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      "...no reputable study has definitively shown that handhelds cause cancer..."

      They said the same thing about smoking.

      For decades.

      These days, when they can ban segways from the pavement because of the accidents that "might" happen, yet allow virtually every member of society access to a device which could potentially damage their long term health, you've got to wonder if the lunatics are running the asylum.

      Still, wonder no more. Its the corporations who are running....everything. Long live the corporation.

      1. mego
        Go

        Erm..

        How do you prove a negative? For example, how do you prove that you can't kill a goat by looking at it? All it takes is sometime, somewhere a goat falls down dead after someone stared at it for long enough...

        1. bluesxman
          WTF?

          RE: Erm..

          Read the article much? Thank you for failing to appreciate the irony intended by my statement.

      2. Dale Richards
        FAIL

        Idiocy

        "These days, when they can ban segways from the pavement because of the accidents that "might" happen, yet allow virtually every member of society access to a device which could potentially damage their long term health, you've got to wonder if the lunatics are running the asylum."

        The problem is there's no reason to suspect that mobile phones could be dangerous to your health. The simple fact is that drinking mineral water *could* cause brain cancer, eating bread *could* cause liver failure and owning a cat *could* cause a rectal prolapse.

        I'm sure plenty of water drinkers have had cancer, and the livers of many bread eaters have packed in. I'll bet a certain percentage of the cat owning population has pink-socked at some point as well.

        I wouldn't fret too much about a piddly little 1-2 Watt phone anyway. We've been using 1-2 kilowatt hairdryers for decades - they emit huge levels of non-ionising radiation directly at your cranium, and I'm sure they heat up your brain tissue at least as much as using 2000 mobile phones simultaneously. Until the "death by prolonged hairdryer use" reports start coming in, I'll sleep easy. With my phone next to my head.

        1. Ian Stephenson Silver badge
          Stop

          ....owning a cat *could* cause a rectal prolapse

          What the hell are you doing with that cat?

          Liver failure - nah, eating bread does cause subtotal villious atrophy though. I have the intestines to prove it.

      3. peter 45
        WTF?

        Tosh

        Yes they have. There are many hundreds of studies covering thousands of experiments going back over decades that show and direct measureable correlation between smoking and cancer. Testing did not just finish in the 1950s either, but continued throughout the 70s 80 and into the 90s. May even be studies going on today for all I know, but i found references up to 1995 within 2 minutes of googling. Its not that hard.

        You are probably correct in trying to re-do the testing, but not because they might not find a correlation, but because of the moral difficulty of doing testing that is known will kill you. Subjecting thousands more people (or Beagles) to further testing which, at best, will only conform what is known to an even greater degree of accuracy just will not get past the approvals process.

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Boffin

    What!

    "iPhone users are entitled to control their exposure to mobile phone radiation"

    That's completely unacceptable. The world-wide experiment in fanboi mutation MUST continue.

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      How about controlling exposure by not buying it?

      More in-depth thought on that line had not occurred to me until your post. And my thought was, if people are so concerned about their exposure to cellular radiation, why not simply not use a mobile? I mean, how much exposure to herpes is *too* much?

      Paris, how much is too much?

  9. LaeMing Bronze badge

    My Boss...

    ...is always telling me not to carry my MoFo in my top pocket near my heart (the alternative being on my belt near my ovaries!). If she wasn't a chronic smoker, her admonishments might carry more weight! I am pretty sure my daily walk to work along several high-traffic roads is a far higher cancer risk.

  10. raving angry loony

    so what?

    If "usefulness" was a criterion for inclusion in the App store, then 99% of the apps would suddenly disappear. Sounds to me like yet another arbitrary Apple decision.

  11. Grifter

    Hmm

    >Well, possibly the best answer to that question is:

    >"Because your app is alarmist and pointless."

    Does it really matter? Personally I'd rather see crap like that among a greater selection, than having a nanny that decides what's good for me.

    It astounds me when people crave less freedom and more restriction.

    1. Walt French
      Happy

      Right: there are at least 3 better reasons to ban it.

      (1) Ban it because it does not do what it says it will.

      It cannot detect how far you're holding the antenna from your head. It cannot detect how much power is being reflected away from you. It...

      It doesn't do anything except make a stink, which is exactly what the article sez.

      (2) Ban it because it cannot work without using private, or non-existent APIs. Even developers who dislike Apple's rules on private APIs concede that apps that use them are at risk of failing, crashing the phone, or even modifying its operations. All the more reason to keep these clowns away from circuitry that could fry your phone.

      (3) Recognize that all "legal" iPhone apps are products sold by Apple thru its store. It implicitly endorses the suitability of the apps. There is no way that Apple or XYZ Inc is going to open itself up to lawsuits over hypothetical harm. Tawkon should go peddle its stuff on venues that don't care about shooting themselves in the foot. Maybe Android Don't Care ®.

      1. Abremms

        good reason

        see, THOSE are good reasons, i can get behind those. the alarmist reason given, while true, seems a bit weak. I disagree whole heartedly with the kind of profiteering the app makers are trying to pull off here, but im also against censorship and i think if they comply with all the correct technical guidelines, the content should be allowed.

        basicaly, if gullible people want to throw thier money away, thats thier problem. but if the app doesn't meet the technical requirements thats a whole other ball-game and apple has every right to block it, and no petition will (or should) change thier stance on it.

        from the article we get the impression that it WAS rejected for problems with its API and all this press is being manufactured by the app maker trying to make a quick buck.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      laziness

      its because they dont like thinking for themselves and would rather have someone else do it for them

  12. kain preacher Silver badge

    Funny thing

    They have done test to prove cell phones don t cause head aches . How did they do it ? they took a group of people that said cell phones gave them head aches and stuck them in a room and placed a cell phone transmitter. They cranked it up, but never told the folks that there was a cell phone transmitter in the room .

    1. blackworx
      Pint

      Control Group

      I'd like to see the control group that got put in a room with a plainly visible "antenna" labelled "BRANEBUSTER GTX 3000 megagigakillerwatt cell tower" (which was in reality nothing more than some old egg cartons and sticky-backed plastic™) who then hopefully proceeded to roll about on the floor clutching their near-exploding heads in "agony".

      If it wasn't done it should have been.

  13. George 24

    Apple censors an app based on usefullness

    What a crock. The vast majority of apps for the iPhone are useless, so why the censorship? It is amazing that Apple users are willing to fork out the $$ and accept the dictatorship!

    1. Walt French

      The "Crock" is Tawkon's

      This app cannot work under long-standing rules that Apple has recently clarified: the info that Tawkon claims it uses is not available thru published APIs. Ergo, the app is not merely useless, it is deceptive. Apple bans those, too.

      Maybe some day Apple will document the interface that Tawkon needs and they can get the data they want and present it in a way that is not deceptive. I kinda doubt both.

      People who want to know how Tawkon thinks they are frying themselves should buy BlackBerries or maybe Tawkon's engineers can figure out how to work on Android.

      And just because I'm a great guy, I'll save those interested from the $9.99 expense there, too: especially if you are far away from a tower (e.g., 1 bar) so that the radio needs to send a stronger signal, use a headset to minimize radiation to your skull. Not that it matters. You're welcome.

  14. ZenCoder
    Happy

    Testing

    @Kain ... your right, except that the test they performed were much more scientific. They using control groups, double blind testing, a wide range of signal strengths and frequencies, using not only randomly selected people, but those claiming to suffer horribly from exposure.

    The important thing to remember is that the human mind can cause many of these symptoms. When I get stressed out I experience hives, rashes, skin sensitivity, headaches. If you believe that being near power lines or a radio tower is going to give you a headache it really can.

    @AC ... Try to work out an experiment where you either have an active mobile phone next to your head for an hour or one with the battery removed and there is no way for you to tell. Maybe two boxes with phones in them, one placing a call with the volume down, the other with the battery disconnected. Have a friend mix up the boxes while you are not looking.

    If the effect you experience is psychological you should be about 50-50% guessing whether you were exposed to an active or inactive phone. If its real and strong you should be close to 100% accurate.

    Stuff like this is fun. I was surprised to discover a friend who hates compressed music could tell wav files and the same converted to mp3.. The odd part was most of the time he thought the mp3 was the superior original.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mobile phones

    Mobile phones = radiation monsters that will kill people, they'll kill babies, do you know what else kills babies? Foxes, and do you know what, foxes shag other foxes under the age of 18 which means they're dirty peados.

    If you don't hate mobile phones, it mean's that you're a paedophile fox, and are you a paedophile fox? If you are you should turn yourself in!

    Using a mobile phone makes you a paedophile, it's a fact.

    Above post may include a fine dose of bullshit.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Brilliant...

      but you forgot to get Global Warming in...

  16. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    FAIL

    SAR tests are phoney crap

    Read up on the details of how they perform these mobile phone SAR (specific absorption rate) tests, and you'll drop any respect that you might have for the numbers. Because the measurements on any model of mobile are so erratic, they have to align the handset under test to extremely precise angles and distances. Shift the handset by a mm or a degree, and the numbers all change. So they control these parameters to extremely tight tolerances (for the SAR tests).

    Also, they purport to detect tiny hotspots within the Jello-head. Yeah, tiny hotspots on the order of a mm^3 probed with tiny probes. Supposedly generated by mobe's RF with a wavelength of about 10-20 cm. Geesh. Have they alerted the semiconductor makers of the world of this newfound sub-sub-sub-sub-wavelength focusing ability using nothing but a tub full of Jello? Amazing. 0.01 nm CPUs can be printed with nothing but Jello lenses. Yippe!

    The basic fact is that mobile phones emit a certain average RF power (should be written on the lid of the tin it came in), and at various frequencies (see lid). The antenna system will have a certain efficiency (cough iPhone4 cough cough, LOL). How much ends up radiated away and how much ends up in your head depends upon a thousand variables, few of which are under the control of the OEM.

    Providing SAR numbers to three significant digits is extremely bad science and those doing it should be deeply ashamed. It's techno-evil and highly deceptive.

    Much like claiming that dropping the BAC (drink drive) limit from 0.08 to 0.05 will save "303" lives. Three hundred ***AND THREE***? Flaming idiots!

    I think some of these people have as much Jello in their heads as the SAR phantoms.

  17. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    Sounds like Tawkon must be as reliable as ...

    the Apple bar software.

    So where's the problem?

  18. devon leslie

    To The Author

    While this app may be a load of crap - the concern over Radio Frequency Radiation is quite real regardless of whether the ignorant understand absorption rates or government regulations.

    So in essence - regardless of what the app actually achieves, the discussion over radiation is not alarmist nor is it pointless...and it is arbitrary banning such as this (more to do with Apple not wanting people to think their phones might be dangerous) that will further the cause for Android 2.2 and beyond.

    Every time Apple bans something, I take note - because it usually involves something that somehow threatens Apple, not it's consumers; so indeed: Why the ban?

    The answer has little to do with this app being alarmist or pointless. Is that not for consumers to decide?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bollocks

    Gotta luv those wooden actors. Straight out of the Arnold / Sly / Dolph / Van Damme school of actors.

    'Nuff said.

  20. D. M
    Paris Hilton

    @ZenCoder

    Your friend clearly doesn't know what he should listen. There are several factors (shocking, if you are one of the younger generation who doesn't know what good music is).

    1. There are other factors that could affect the quality of MP3 encoding. Most "converter" program will try to "improve" the quality by adding crap. Sadly, today's youth no longer knows they are listening to crap, and think if music doesn't have the crap, is bad music.

    2. What speaker/software was used? Some speakers amazingly play crap music "good", but good music crap. Some software (or mp3 players) were designed to play crap better. The audio unit in my old car dose this so bad, that it is not recommended to play anything better than 256kbps MP3.

    3. The type of music been played, also affect the result. Some music sounds better when they were encoded in low kbps MP3 or similar format. Dare I say a lot of "Pop music" belong in this category.

    NOW, about useless apps - over 99% iApps are useless and pointless, why don't they ban all of them? Why they don't simply ban themselves, since Apple's toys are useless to start with.

    PH, 'cos she is useless, yet she is "loved" by many.

  21. Dave 142

    limit radiation

    If you want to limit your mobile phone radiation then you actually want to be close to a mast as then your phone will give out less radiation itself and as that's the thing next to your head that's the thing you should worry about. Not that you should worry about that if you're not a tin foil hat wearing idiot.

  22. David Pollard

    Horoscopes, biorhythms?

    It's not immediately clear what criteria Apple used to justify this ban. They seem happy enough to promote astrology and biorhythms.

    http://www.apple.com/webapps/utilities/biorhythms.html

    http://www.apple.com/webapps/entertainment/astrographastrologyhoroscopes.html

  23. Doug Glass
    Go

    Maybe The Nuclear Industry ...

    ... would be interested. Uh, no, sorry .... we already have remore monitoring with proven accuracy and reliability. This crap is just that ... crap. You'd be better of wearing a home-made aluminium hat than trusting this application.

    What are you gonna do if the app shows you new $900 iPhone is frying your brain? Trash the phone? Not likely. Change the output to display a more pleasing dose of radiation most likely. Kind of like signal strength bars. Actual communication didn't change but the fans needed to see the true length of their "bar" to feel all warm and fuzzy.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    This is stupid

    "at $9.99 a pop for Tawkon"

    ...well, we know why they made the scare-ware app in the first place!

  25. Stylee

    Ise, Ise, baby.

    "Phenomenally insightful advise, don't you agree?"

    Advice, damn it, advice!!

  26. Cliff

    Great vid

    "...we're thinking of the children..." spoilt only by "...and the sales forces...".

    Emotion, not science. Daily Mail stuff.

  27. Paul Landon
    Stop

    Authoritarian Censorship

    Whilst the banned app sounds like a load of mumbo jumbo,

    what I feel most strongly about is the authoritarian censorship and anti-trade issues here.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    The Tawkon is a fraud

    And that is the best reason to ban it.

  29. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    FUD?

    There's an app for that!

    1. Greg J Preece

      No

      "The answer has little to do with this app being alarmist or pointless. Is that not for consumers to decide?"

      Of course it isn't. Not every human is endowed with the particular sector of knowledge required to see the app as bullshit, so some will buy it - and worry themselves sick with it - thinking it is real. Not because they're inherently stupid - they might be a car mechanic, a salesman, etc, so WTF do they know about radiation?

      It requires someone who is knowledgeable in these fields (or "spotting dangerous bullshit") to pull them up and tell them to piss off. That, and educate the wider public as to why this is nonsense. But we have Penn and Teller for that.

  30. WebWorker

    hmmm... the register again...

    "Of course, underlying all this palaver about mobile-phone induced brain death is the tiny fact that, well, no reputable study has definitively shown that handhelds cause cancer."

    I guess you consider Motorola's internal research not being credible then?

    They performed extensive research into this several years ago due to a lawsuit on WIFI impact on skin and brain related tissue alterations from extensive use of a mobile phone.

    No conclusive evidence to cause cancer is yet determined due to the time it takes to clearly research effects, but alterations in tissue, heat sensations and thus effects on the nervous system are in fact proven.

    It also caused Motorola to redesign certain phone models.

    I guess all the hype updating and speed with which the market is changing causes extensive elective amnesia in editors of common media.

    1. Greg J Preece

      Haha

      Man, I love people like this:

      El Reg says:

      "no reputable study has definitively shown that handhelds cause cancer."

      You respond with:

      "I guess you consider Motorola's internal research not being credible then?"

      And then immediately follow that up with:

      "No conclusive evidence to cause cancer is yet determined."

      So you've basically agreed with El Reg, genius.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Bah!

      Rumour has it Motorola forced rats to make days-long cellular telephone calls in these so-called experiments.

      Motorola got almost no useful data from the experiment as far as normal cell-phone usage is concerned, and the rats got "slammed" in the first two minutes of the calls and ended up with a an astronomical bill from some South American telco, causing a run on Motorola stock when the quarterly balance sheet was published.

      At least, that's what I just made up.

  31. Ben Rosenthal
    Thumb Up

    re: paedophile fox

    I'd have put my name to that one 5 times over sir

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What planet are you from, then?

    Whilst this app does sound like a completely pointless waste of megabytes, there are nevertheless three things that annoyed me about this article more than the app's creators themselves.

    Firstly, with the number of spelling errors in this article, anybody would think that proofreading as a profession were dead and gone. I'm not sure I can trust a researcher to give me the lowdown on a subject if I can't trust them to run a quick spell-check. That being said, I will give the author the benefit of the doubt in this case, as I am quite certain his rabid excitement about the lack of proof linking mobiles and cancer must have made such things very difficult.

    Oh, wait, mobiles aren't healthy, are they? No, actually, there's quite a lot of evidence suggesting mobiles might have adverse effects, isn't there? This leads me to my second gripe. Google "mobile phones are dangerous" and a good few articles will be returned hinting at the very real possibility of risks, despite no clear link yet having been determined. As a result, I think any sensible person would conclude that, at worst, now is a time to reserve opinion, rather than rubbish such claims. Do you want your son to grow up with a honking great tumour in his head? No? Then remove one of the possible risks and don't give them a mobile at age three. Simple. The only organisations who have something very real to lose by such "scaremongering" are telecommunications and mobile manufacturing firms.

    Which leads me to my third gripe. Apple are pretty much "mobile fascists". The very idea of limiting the sale of independently developed software in any way whatsoever not only fills me with a pounding sense of rage, but also contradicts the very standards Apple claim to uphold. According to Apple, for example, Adobe's Flash is an evil product - not just because it's a buggy security risk, but because it's "closed, proprietary" technology. Really? But - and forgive me if I'm mistaken - hasn't it been a unique characteristic of Apple for a number of years now that every single thing they produce is closed and proprietary? Yes, yes it has.

    So, whilst I enjoy a bit of SAR-bashing like everybody else, I have to say I think that this article rather misses the point. The iPhone community is being taken for a ride - and they're laughing, in that self-congratulatory way that only they can manage, all the way down.

    1. stolennomenclature
      Happy

      are'nt they all?

      Most of these apps are a waste of megabytes. The whole smart phone thing is all about cool gadgets and playing with toys, rather than doing anything useful. I like cool gadgets and playing with toys too - but lets not pretend any of these apps are curing cancer or saving the planet. Its all just for fun.

  33. hahnchen
    Thumb Down

    Old news is old

    Techcrunch covered this months ago - http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/17/tawkon/

    And here's Scoble showing you why Tawkon's app can actually be useful - http://scobleizer.com/2010/05/17/mobile-phone-radiation-studying-company-might-have-real-side-benefits/

  34. John H Woods Silver badge

    Tawkon ...

    ... I'm not up on particle physics, but is this the one that carries the sucker wave? Or does it mediate the reality distortion field?

  35. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Happy

    @Darren Forster

    Darren, 2m Amateur radio band starts at 144.0 MHz.

    1.44 and 1.45 MHz are within the AM Broadcast band.

  36. Lance 3

    Good

    Until Apple lifts that they can reject/ban an app for any reason, I don't see why developers would even bother with the iPhoney.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why develop for iPhone

    Here's one--you might make something useful or fun that millions of people download and appreciate and might make a lot of money in the process?

    Seriously, it's not like you spin a roulette wheel to see if your app will be accepted. It's pretty damn predictable which apps Apple might reject.

    Does your app step on Apple's toes, e.g., is it an iPod or Safari replacement? You MIGHT have some trouble with that, genius. Is it something that might be considered in poor taste, e.g,. a boob or bikini app? Same. Is it a worthless piece of s*** app like this radiation thing? Same.

    I wouldn't even bother making a fart app or something similar since it's stupid and Apple could well reject it.

    Just use some common sense and you can tell which apps have a 100% chance of passing review and work on those. In my mind, anybody working on anything else is kind of an idiot.

  38. stolennomenclature
    Unhappy

    no proof either way

    There may well be no scientific proof that cell phones are dangerous, but neither, and perhaps more importantly, there is no scientific proof whatsoever that they are safe. In other words, no one - and I mean no one - actually knows one way of the other.

    If you look back over recent history, there are numerous cases of things which were once thought to be safe that are now known to be dangerous. When my house was built, the law required the ground around the slab to be treated with an anti-termite chemical. Years later this chemical is now banned by the very same people (more or less) who originally mandated its use.

    My advice is this - if someone is making packets of money out of something - like mobile phones for example - no doubt it will be pronounced safe. Safe for the fat cats to make tons of dosh. And so what if a few thousand people die with brain tumours - so long as the cash keeps on rolling in?

    1. Intractable Potsherd
      Stop

      The thing is...

      ... what you are referring to is the hard precautionalry principle, which effectively means "treat everything as a risk waiting to be discovered". The corollary of that is "ben it or regulate it to death if any risk shows because we don't know how bad it is going to get". The hard precautionalry principle looks only at harms, not benefits, of anything. Hence, we get the banning of DDT with the result that many millions more people die of insect-transmitted diseases than would have had any harm from the chemical itself.

      Whilst I am the last to say that mobile phones fall into the same category of benefit to mankind as insecticides, this "radiation am bad" attitude from the terminally scared (and it is that factor that will kill them early, not the radio waves from a phone) is just pointless. Seriously, water is poisonous in the right circumstances, so is oxygen. There is no doubt about that, and yet we still use both every day. Move on, stop worrying, and accept that you live in a harmful world that is ruled by lawyers, not people with common sense.

  39. sad_loser
    Boffin

    terminological inexactitude?

    I don't want to get epistological on your asses, but trying to disprove something is the basis of Popperian science. If I cannot disprove something, then it is probably true. So we spend quite a lot of time trying to prove a negative.

    1. Pan_Handle
      FAIL

      read that again

      epistemological

  40. Gil Friedlander

    Some answers from tawkon:

    Firstly – this vibrant discussion has been interesting and as a start-up, a good prompt to make some improvements. We’ve already added more content from this discussion to The Debate section (http://bit.ly/btRzIz) on our website and are further clarifying the technology explanation on the website too – so thanks for the feedback ☺

    Now to answer specific comments in this post and from other readers:

    1. tawkon is not trying to make a buck on fear. We’re a start-up that has spent almost two years developing a technologically sophisticated application that addresses a real issue that we all, as avid phone users, face. We use our phones day and night, and while science is not conclusive on the health impact of non-ionizing radiation, regulatory bodies worldwide (not tawkon…) do recommend to taking precautionary measure NOW to reduce exposure to mobile phone radiation. If you look at our site at http://www.tawkon.com you’ll see an app made by phone enthusiasts who believe in giving people the knowledge and tools ~ and therefore the choice ~ to use their phones responsibly. That’s also the reason for our Debate section sharing many independent views on the health impact of mobile phone usage.

    2. tawkon is far from voodoo – it’s developed by serious cellular & software engineers and has been tested in a respected RF lab for over a year and a half. The reason we’re releasing one device at a time is due to long RF lab processes for each different device. Those interested can read more about how we help people reduce their exposure to cellular radiation here: http://bit.ly/9JhKQi

    3. Rik Myslewski – you made several comments about what tawkon “purports” to measure – we invite you to try tawkon for yourself on the BlackBerry (and hopefully soon on the iPhone). Let me know if you’d like us to help you get a copy to review. In fact everyone is welcome to try tawkon for yourself from www.tawkon.com/download, and if your device isn’t yet supported we’ll let you know when it is.

    You can also see a live demo of tawkon in action here at http://bit.ly/b0JJvr to better understand what tawkon does and how it works.

    Bottom line – whether you prefer to talk blindfolded, or like us, to see what you’re exposed to, we believe that now that this technology exists, everyone should have the right to use it and be smarter about how they use their phones.

    So - have a great day and do continue to ‘talk on’! We’ll be doing it in the “green zone” – how about you?

    Gil Friedlander - Co-Founder & CEO

    1. Intractable Potsherd
      Go

      Thanks, Gil,

      Much as I don't like what you are doing, I agree with your, and your users', right to do it. I personally don't want to spend my time worrying about tiny risks (I don't have a smoke detector in the house, to give you an idea about where my concept of "tiny" begins), but I know that others do.

      I have found the discussions on here today a bit strange - usually, the weight of comments go against Apple's over-controlling policies regarding the App Store, but this time, for reasons I don't understand, the weight is against your product. Overall, I hope you win your campaign to give people the choice.

      (Disclaimer: I don't have any Apple products at all, I don't have a smart-phone, and I do not have any connections with Tawkon, just before the flames begin!)

  41. kevin biswas
    Joke

    Everyone knows that a radiation from a phone could never damage health

    Unless the antenna were designed by a complete bumbling amauter. And of course, Apple are known worldwide for their exceptional antenna design, yes ?

  42. Carol Orlowski

    @Gil Friedlander: If you're not trying to make a buck on fear

    Then drop the price of your app to $0.99. After all, you're apparently doing this in the public interest so you'd naturally want as many people as possible to be able to afford your app.

    1. Intractable Potsherd
      Badgers

      @ Carol Orlowski

      There are many products out there in the world that trade on fear, and cost far more than they should in objective terms. However, people buy them anyway. I'm far from a hard-line capitalist, but in this case neurotic people with the money to spend on a top-line phone can afford $9.99 for an app. This is not about any health divide - it is about rich people with nothing better to worry about than their own skins.

  43. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    Snake oil

    A hot hand-held radio crackling away gives a headache from holding it and heat. Not the 144MHz RF.

    However peering into a waveguide or a running microwave oven with no door will eventually give you cataracts and cook your face. No cancer.

  44. Nigel 11
    Boffin

    Every mobile has this app already!

    Well, every mobile I've ever seen has the app. It's the signal-strength indicator.

    Phones transmit at a power as low as possible consistent with maintaining communication with the cell base-station. The signal-strength is logarithmic over a 1000:1 range. 4 bars (best) corresponds to 2 mW, one bar (worst) to 2 Watts. If there's any danger at all, it stands to reason that the 2W level is the most worrysome. Two bars is one-tenth the transmit strength of one bar.

    If you are concerned about frying your brain, but not sufficiently so to refuse to use a mobile, just check the signal strength, and decline to call or answer if it's minimum. Simple!

    Possible research: do a comparisoin of brain cancer incidence amongst country dwellers compared to city dwellers. The signal strengths needed out in the sticks are much higher than in cities. Is there a higher incidence? If not, then high transmit strength mobile usage is no more dangerous than low signal usage, and the most likely hypothesis is that both are harmless.

  45. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Phenomenally insightful advise, don't you agree?

    No I jolly well doesn't.

  46. pctechxp

    How to put the 'are mobiles dangerous?' debate to rest.

    While I don't for one second believe that mobiles do you harm I'd rather have most of the transmission energy directed at the mast and not at me for the sake of better call quality.

    I therefore tend to go for phones with a lower SAR and I think manufacturers should refine their antenna designs and include shielding to direct the signal out of the back plate instead of at the user, if manufacturers produced a phone with a SAR value 0.01 W/kg then I think the debate would be at an end.

    1. Galidron
      Coat

      Location Location Location

      What happens when the mast is on the other side of your head? Are you ok with the call dropping when you turn around in place?

      Ed Livengood

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I signed their petition

    Dear App Review Team, Tawkon sound like a bunch of alarmist twats. Well done for banning their stupid app. Not that I have or want an Iphone anyway.

  48. James Micallef Silver badge
    Boffin

    Acute vs Chronic

    There are no studies yet that show ACUTE symptons from mobile use, however mobiles have not been in common use for long enough to discount the possibility of chronic symptons after 40+ years of use. So yes, all indications so far are that phones are safe, and whoever wrote this app is scaremongering / taking advantage of people's fears, but there's nothing wrong in basic precautions, and we should have a close-to-definitive answer in 20 years or so

  49. digibadger

    For those who think there's no evidence showing smoking causes cancer

    Urban myth, I'm afraid. The statistical evidence is incredibly strong, and it's not just Doll's data; here's a paper based on a much more recent study:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2601691/

    which shows heavy smokers have about 60 times the incidence of never-smokers. The mobile phone data certainly show that any increased incidence of brain cancer is vastly smaller than the effects of tobacco smoke - about 10% of long-term smokers will develop lung cancer.

    And if you mean that the association doesn't demonstrate the mechanism, there is a long, long list of carcinogens contained in tobacco smoke. This is is the most recent free article I can find:

    http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/91/14/1194?view=long&pmid=10413421

    and things have moved on from there.

    1. James 139

      All depends on your perspective

      In simplest terms you can say "smoking causes cancer".

      In more exact terms its really "smoking damages DNA chains, resulting in cancer if you have short/defective DNA to begin with".

      1. digibadger
        WTF?

        @james 139

        Nonsense. Carcinogens damage DNA; enough damage to your DNA and you start developing cancer. Go look up the two-hit hypothesis. (Actually, here, I saved you the trouble http://www.nature.com/milestones/milecancer/full/milecancer09.html ) What your DNA is like to begin with has virtually nothing to do with it with such potent carcinogens as are contained in cigarette smoke and delivered to your lungs.

        The vast majority of people who develop lung cancer would not have developed that cancer if they had never smoked. Hard fact. Ten percent of smokers will develop lung cancer. Also hard fact.

        Just because smoking does not cause cancer in every smoker does not mean it did not cause cancers in the vast majority of those smokers who do develop lung cancer.

  50. Code Monkey

    I agree with Apple

    Blimey. First Arjen Robben keeps his feet after being tackled now this. What is going on?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    I am right behind Apple!

    So if a few Apple iPhone owning planks get their brains mushed by some phone rads, what's the problem here? Sorry but if you're stupid enough to spend that much time with a phone glued to your skull you need to be warned, you deserve all you get!

    I have had to listen to people in the next cubicle while on the throne, the last place where I assumed I could find some solitude! FFS! Yes I own a mobile, but I only use when I really have to.

    It's a device for communication, not a substitute for a baby's dummy/blankie! You do not need to live, eat, wotnot and die by your phone!

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPhone...apps...yawn..

    ....does anyone care about any of this crap? Should they?!

    What is an iphone anyway? What's the point? Of any of it? I got a Nokia for 10quid. It makes calls, it receives them. That is what a phone needs to do. Never mind all the pointless costly bloat on anything prefixed with an "i"....proprietary redundant crap...

    I understand why people think it's cool to have Apple crap, but it's just so sad and consumerist... Sorry if that's not the spirit of `saving the economy` but to be honest the less crap we have like this the better IMO.

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